How do you know whether or not your meeting was successful or effective? Do you measure the success of a meeting by the fact that it started or ended on time or by the fact that you completed its agenda? Many times you can cover your agenda and fulfill the time constraints and yet accomplish nothing. Often I see leaders judge their meetings successful because there was lively discussion. Or people got animated. Or they had fun. One leader showed me long lists of items they talked about during one of their all-day meetings. I suggest that you set much higher standards for measuring the success and effectiveness of your meetings.
Are you concerned about the number of meetings you attend or the length of those meetings? If you are leading a business and see your job as working on a business rather than in it, you should expect to be in lots of meetings. So I would get over the number of meetings and length of meetings and instead concern myself with the quality and success of those meetings. In my experience, most organizations are not having too many meetings. They are having too many “bad” meetings.
I suggest changing the measurement system to look at meeting effectiveness. For example, a good leading indicator that something important is being discussed is that there are different opinions —conflict— and that most of the people in the room are engaged in the discussion. Other indicators of good meetings are the number of critical decisions made, new actions developed, number of new ideas created and accepted, and increase in percentage of goals achieved. These are real indicators that your meetings are worthwhile. If you have a really good meeting, then everyone leaves feeling invested in the decisions that were made and aligned as a team! If you run your meeting well the participants should leave feeling stretched but not stressed.
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